The new Permanent Representatives of Norway and Belgium today presented their credentials to the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. They are Ms. Elisabeth Jacobsen of Norway and Ms. Cristina Funes-Noppen of Belgium.
|Mrs. Tibaijuka with Ms. Jacobsen of Norway|
Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Government and people of Norway for being among the ten biggest contributors to UN-HABITAT and for the country’s initial contribution that gave a boost to the Water and Sanitation Programme of the organization. “With the support of Norway, we have been able to turn around the fortunes of UN-HABITAT,” she said.
The Executive Director said that the slum upgrading activities of UN-HABITAT were not moving as fast as she would wish, but pointed out that the organization was trying to secure funds from the private sector through cooperatives.
Mrs. Tibaijuka called on Norway to support the Slum Upgrading Facility (SUF), the Trust Fund on housing for the people of Palestine, and UN-HABITAT’s two campaigns on secure tenure and urban governance. She also called for capacity enhancement for UN-HABITAT in order to ensure the development of the rapid response programme of the organization.
Mrs. Tibaijuka was optimistic that in coming years, an international guideline on decentralization would be in place to help local authorities face the urban challenge. She stated that the World Urban Forum (WUF) was becoming well known and called on Ms. Jacobsen and other members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) of UN-HABITAT to fully participate in the forthcoming WUF III to be held in Vancouver, Canada, from 19-23 June 2006.
|Mrs. Tibaijuka with Ms. Funes-Noppen of Belgium|
The Executive Director congratulated Ms. Jacobsen on her nomination as the Chairperson of Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN-HABITAT, a position she is due to take up early in 2006.
Briefing the Permanent Representative of Belgium earlier, Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that UN-HABITAT was planning to reinvigorate its programmes and scale them up. She said UN-HABITAT was currently working with 26 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Belgium.
She said that having spent the last five years strengthening UN-HABITAT, the organization was now shifting its emphasis on disaster management in view of the increasing number of natural and human-made disasters in the world. Ms. Tibaijuka thanked the Government of Belgium for being a very active member of UN-HABITAT’s Governing Council for many years, and its support for the Water and Sanitation Programme, the Nairobi Dam Project, and the Safer Cities Programme. She also expressed appreciation to the European Union for its support for UN-HABITAT’s projects in Somalia. She hoped that with the appointment of Ms. Funes-Noppen the contributions from Belgium would increase further.